Three articles to read this weekend

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I usually spend some time sifting through thought-provoking analyses and commentaries. I find I learn more about Malaysia that way than by reading new reports. One of the great things about the new Malaysia – even if not everything is going our way – is that we are seeing more openness in critical thinking – and this is coming out in various writings in the media.

Academic Tajuddin Rasdi, I feel, has been making waves with his writings of late. He is fast becoming a writer to watch. Check out these two latest articles of his

In Malaysia, is religion truly for God?

This piece by Tajuddin Rasdi hits the nail on the head, I believe. He makes us reflect on who we are trying to impress with all the grandeur we put into places of worship. This one strikes a chord with me, for I have often wondered about churches as well. Who are we trying to impress with all those endless building and renovation projects? Do we think of the opportunity costs involved? Do we place as much emphasis on caring for the poor and marginalised in our midst? Are our places of worship becoming more inclusive and welcoming – or are the walls and fences going higher and higher?

The Malay boy who lived among the Chinese

This is a heart-warming account of Tajuddin’s school life in a Taiping Chinese school, and how he was embraced by his schoolmates from a different ethnic background. Tajuddin shows us what is possible in the new Malaysia if only we are courageous enough to celebrate and embrace our diversity.

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And check out this report:

Don: Our Islamic education doesn’t instil Islamic values

Here, Azmil Tayeb raises some pointed questions about the nature of religious education in our country and whether it is preparing students for life in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country.

Of course, check out the Aliran website for other articles and analyses

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V Ramesh

I like articles by Mariam Mokhtar.

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As you traverse about 1 km of any housing estate, you are likely to see at least couple of houses being renovated. They follow the latest fashions in tiles, gates, air-con, etc. One uncouth trend – that concerns immediate neighbours – is converting singl-storey terrace houses to double, and double to triple. In some cases, the owner merges adjacent lots. In every shopping centre, at least one shop is being renovated per month. The mania in cars is similar. The govt. contributes by way of resurfacing sidewalks and back lanes, opening new departments (e.g. for “integrity”), launching new “initiatives” that… Read more »